Why Steaming Your Eggs Might Be Better Than Hard-Boiling Them
A confession: I do not like hard-boiled eggs. In fact, I do not enjoy any version of eggs where whites and yolks are distinct and separate. I like a scramble, an omelet, a frittata or quiche, and all manner of custard. But the only way I will consume an egg white on its own is in meringue. One of the problems with not liking a hard-boiled egg is that it does not get me off the hook for cooking them. Jewish holidays often have a bowl of hard-boiled eggs as part of the meal, and no home cook worth their salt would avoid serving deviled eggs to guests just because they aren't a personal preference.
So, over the years, I have had to learn to make a decent hard-boiled egg. And while I have tried all the traditional methods, from starting in cold water to dropping into simmering water, the method I now use exclusively is steaming.
"The what!" you say? Allow me to explain.
Why steaming makes the best hard-boiled eggs
I first encountered steamed hard-boiled eggs while testing one of those small egg-cooking appliances. I realized that the cooking method in these little units is steam instead of boiling, and they turned out perfectly every time. Which made me realize you do not need a special piece of equipment to make perfect steamed hard-boiled eggs; you just need a steamer basket or insert and a pot with a lid!
Steaming eggs makes perfect sense. It is always a risk to drop eggs into a pot of boiling water, between scalding splash back and the risk of cracking, not to mention that eggs can crack just bashing into each other with the boiling action. Steaming is a much gentler approach. It is also a more even cooking method, since the eggs are not touching the bottom of the pot, where it can be hotter. I have also found that steamed hard-boiled eggs seem to peel more easily than hard-boiled ones.
How to steam eggs to hard-boiled
The process couldn't be simpler. Here's all you do:
1. Put 1 inch of water in the bottom of a pot that either has a steamer insert or can accommodate a steamer basket and has a lid.
2. Place your eggs in the insert on the counter while bringing the water in the pot to a boil, then carefully lower the eggs into the pot, being sure that the eggs are not at all touching the water.
3. Cover and cook for 12 minutes for a perfect hard-boiled egg.
4. After 12 minutes, remove the insert or basket and immediately transfer the eggs to a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. Let cool completely in the ice water, at least 15-30 minutes.
You should now be able to either store in their shells in the fridge, or peel for use. I tap all over to crack shell and then peel under running cold water, and they slip right out of their peel. PRO TIP: If you want to be sure to have perfect, easy to peel eggs for things like deviled eggs, buy your eggs a week before you want to use them, as fresher eggs are harder to peel than slightly older ones.
And bid boiling good-bye!